Pennsylvania Roads - Chester Co.
The first bridge on this page is the Enola Low-Grade Railroad, now a Trail, over Noble Rd. NB outside Christiana.
Jumping southward, this is Brandywine Creek Rd. NB over Buck Run, heading toward Coatesville.
Now to the northeast, Valley Creek Rd. SB outside Downingtown, heading under several current and former railroad tracks just south of Boot Rd. These parallel lines were probably built by competitors in the heyday of rail, when such an arrangement could still be profitable, but the consolidation era took the southern one out of commission. The northern set of tracks (brick tunnel) lives on, serving SEPTA commuter rail. The rails are gone from the southern set (concrete tunnel). The eponymous Valley Creek gets its own tunnels just to the east.
The land between the tunnels is short and stony.
One look back north at the southern tunnel portal.
I can't get much more northeast and stay in Chester County. This is Mill Rd. NB over Little Valley Creek in Chesterbrook.
One shot southward.
Mill Rd. now crosses the regular Valley Creek (I think regular and Little are really the same size) just to the north, downstream from Valley Creek Rd.
Now for the covered bridges, starting in the west at Mercer's Mill, on Bailey Crossroads Rd. across East Branch Octoraro Creek. The far side of the bridge is Lancaster County.
Swinging around to the south, Glen Hope Bridge across Little Elk Creek, on Hickory Hill Rd. NB from Maryland.
Now across the Ruldolph & Arthur Bridge, which coincidentally spans Big Elk Creek. I'm heading east on Camp Bonsal Rd. from PA 472 for about 1 MILES.
Back west across this 1880 Burr truss beauty.
Another Big Elk Creek crossing, the Linton Stevens Bridge, NB on Kings Row Rd. toward Oxford. Nestled among the trees, this bridge provides only the straight-on view seen here.
Back toward Coatesville, and back over Buck Run (see the second bridge on this page), this is Speakman Covered Bridge #1, on Frog Hollow Rd. Built in 1881, it has obviously not been rehabbed sufficiently to keep Frog Hollow as a through road, so the easiest way to visit is to park on the south side and walk across. These photos do just that, with a view east along Buck Run from one of the breaks in the bridge's side cladding.
Views from the north side of the bridge.
Speakman Covered Bridge #2, also known as the Mary Ann Pyle Bridge, is much harder to get to, since the road there no longer exists. It's a good half hour hike from the stub end of McCorkles Rock Rd. through the Laurels Reserve - ask ahead for permission from the Brandywine Conservancy to visit. Both of the Speakman bridges served the Jonathon Speakman grist mill and, like its brother, this one was built in 1881 and crosses Buck Run.
Walking back south across the bridge from the end of the trail. Here you see the intrepid souls who accompanied me on my excursion to 51 covered bridges in a day (44 of them in Pennsylvania). This is not an exaggeration.
In order to get to Speakman #2, you must first cross its replica twin, the Hayes Clark Bridge. It was constructed in 1971 to replace an earlier bridge that burnt down, although the original Hayes Clark Bridge is nothing like the current one. The first photo shows the remains of McCorkles Rock Rd. as I head north on the trail.
The returning view across Hayes Clark.
Bus. US 30
I-76 (PA Turnpike)
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